Eagles’ Haven center offers free help to Stoneman Douglas community a year after Parkland shooting

Tell a teenager who survived a mass shooting to go to therapy, and they’ll walk right out the door.

But give them a therapeutic place to try out kickboxing, yoga or drumming circles and maybe they’ll come and stay awhile.

Enter Eagles’ Haven, a special wellness center created just for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas community still recovering from the mass shooting that took 17 lives on Feb. 14 last year.

The center opened Monday, a month earlier than planned, in response to last week’s apparent suicides of two teens who survived the Parkland school shooting.

Former Stoneman Douglas student Sydney Aiello, 19, was found dead on March 17. Calvin Desir, a 16-year-old sophomore at the school, died on March 23.

The one-year anniversary of the Parkland school marks the passage of time, not the easing of pain, said Sarah Franco, executive director of JAFCO, the agency running Eagles’ Haven.

The center, in a bustling Coral Springs shopping center at 5655 Coral Ridge Drive, will serve as a safe haven for former, current and future students at the Parkland school — along with teachers and parents.

Eagles’ Haven will be a one-stop shop offering fun activities and guidance to those seeking help. And it will all be free, compliments of JAFCO and the Children’s Services Council of Broward County.

Most experts recommend survivors of mass shooting seek therapy. But not everyone, particularly teens, are receptive, Morgan said.

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